Rickie Fowler has claimed that the PGA Tour has not handled the LIV Golf fallout well but insisted it is still the best place to play golf.
Fowler was one of the PGA Tour players to attend a crunch meeting in Wilmington, Delaware Tuesday, where reportedly ‘everything was on the table’.
The three-and-a-half-hour meeting, led by Tiger Woods, was reportedly aimed at getting PGA Tour players to be of like mind as the fightback against the Saudi-backed rebel event gathers momentum.
Suggestions will now be raised with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan but it appears Fowler has already made his opinions on the matter clear to Monahan.
‘I’ve told the Tour and Jay when I’ve met with them that I don’t think they have handled it very well at all,’ Fowler told Golf Week.
‘A lot of the stuff that has happened in the last six months to a year and is starting to happen, to me they are reacting to it versus when the talks of Premier Golf League and LIV came about is when they should have been proactive and gotten in front of it.’
The Tour has arguably been combative when dealing with the threat from the series, with Monahan banning all rebels as soon as they play their first LIV event.
11 players, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Ian Poulter, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the Tour as they claimed the suspensions had harmed their careers. Carlos Ortiz has since reportedly withdrawn his name from the lawsuit.
Professional golfer Rickie Fowler (left) has told the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan (right) that it has not handled the threat from the LIV Golf Series ‘very well at all’
Fowler was one of the PGA Tour players to attend a meeting, led by Tiger Woods (above)
Bryson DeChambeau (left) and Phil Mickelson (right) are among 11 players to sue the PGA Tour
LIV Golf has offered staggering fees to lure some of golf’s biggest stars to the series, with the latest reported to be an offer of $140million to British Open champion Cameron Smith, who has withdrawn from this week’s BMW Championship due to a hip problem.
Fowler has also been offered a ‘mind-boggling’ figure to join the Saudi-backed breakaway.
The Californian is currently World No. 173 after once holding a spot in the top five and it was widely speculated that he could jump ship to the cut-free LIV Golf series following his fall down the rankings.
LIV Golf (pictured CEO Greg Norman) have snatched up big names with staggering offers
But he has maintained that he believes the PGA Tour is the best place to play, while conceding improvements could be made.
When pressed on the possibility of joining LIV Golf ahead of the PGA Championship in May, he said: ‘I haven’t necessarily made a decision one way or the other.
‘I’ve mentioned in the past, do I currently think that the PGA Tour is the best place to play? I do. Do I think it can be better? Yes.’
Fowler reiterated that stance this month as he believed the Tour, despite its flawed approach, was beginning to move in the right direction.
Despite his criticism, Fowler maintained that the PGA Tour is the ‘best place to play golf’
‘This is where I plan to be,’ he said. ‘I would say there is stuff in the works now as far as the things the Tour is trying to do to evolve with kind of modernizing and I feel like they are making the right steps now.’
Despite admitting the Tour needs to make improvements, Fowler suggested that LIV Golf posed no real threat.
‘It may bring potentially new audiences in just because it’s different. At the same time, it’s not what golf has always been,’ he said.
‘If there was a perfect world there would be a way to coexist because to me they are very different things.’
Fowler arrived with Woods, who was reportedly offered $800million to join LIV, for Tuesday’s meeting and the pair landed at Philadelphia International Airport in the 15-time Major champion’s private jet en route to Delaware for the discussion at the BMW Championship.
Tiger Woods is pictured leaving the meeting of PGA Tour golfers on Tuesday evening
Woods’ private jet, pictured in 2010, which flew him from Florida to Philadelphia on Tuesday
The world’s top golfers met at the five-star Hotel du Pont to assemble a plan of action
The meeting in Wilmington comes a week after temporary restraining orders were placed upon Hudson Swafford, Talor Gooch and Matt Jones who deserted the Tour in favor for LIV Golf, yet still wanted to play in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Fowler was one of the players to benefit from Judge Beth Labson Freeman’s denial of the TRO as he became Mr. 125 in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, squeezing into the field for the first event last week after the defectors were removed from the standings.
However, a Cinderella story was not meant to be for the fan favorite. Despite carding a 5-under 65 and finishing tied for 6th after day one before going on to make the cut, he flamed out of the FedEx Cup Playoffs with a quintuple-bogey 9 on his final hole on Saturday at the St Jude Championship.